So, what’s the one issue burning in the minds of the Republican base?
You got it: Gay and Lesbian Equality.
A story in today’s Boston Globe declares “For GOP, gay rights issues play role that race once did:”
“Gay issues have widely been perceived as an advantage for the Republican Party, which in 2004 placed referendums opposing gay marriage on ballots in swing states to draw social conservatives to the polls, where many supported GOP candidates.”
Because Republicans candidates and pundits fight like one of Michael Vick’s pit bulls, Democrats are afraid to openly and loudly support full and equal rights for LGBT Americans.
And as the article’s title points out, it ain’t the first time this sort of thing happened.
Back in the 1960’s, when American laws permitted and enforced a “separate but equal” set of rules for “coloreds” and “whites,” many moderates and progressives (some of them Blacks) called for Civil Rights leaders to be patient with the legal system.
They advocated the “waiting game” and decried acts of civil disobedience which pushed the envelope and created moral and ethical conflicts for politicians – especially in an election year.
Keenly aware of the public and private condemnations he was receiving for his leadership role that encouraged peaceful protests, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an elegant letter in response to his critics from his cell in the Birmingham jail:
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered... For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" ...This "Wait" has almost always meant 'Never."
Of course, history has shown that King was right: the violent reaction to peaceful demonstrations illustrated to the world the shame and immorality of American “laws” and institutions which maintained a system of inequality.
So, to all of those closeted supporters of LGBT equality, we say, come out! Stop acting like frightened children – afraid of your own shadow.When challenged by others for your stand, just speak the truth about inequality, social and economic injustice.
In addition to standing up for our rights, don’t be afraid to speak out loudly against the “war on terror.” Have the guts to begin impeachment proceedings. Support a National Health Care System. Advocate for clean alternative energy sources like solar, water and wind power.
If you can find the backbone to do what is right, you will have massive support from the American people!
And when the knee-jerks attack, don’t apologize. Take a page from the Bush/Rove/Cheney play-book and “stay the course.”
So what if your detractors call you names? You know they’ll make the same tried and true accusations over and over again: You’re a “girly man” who is “weak on terror” with a “pre-9/11 mentality” who “flip-flops” on the issues and uses “nanny-politics,” right?